Should Your Staffing Partner Be Strategic or Tactical?

Strategic staffing partner

Should Your Staffing Partner be Strategic or Tactical?

At Surestaff we are fortunate to work with many large customers throughout the country – primarily those that are large users of industrial staffing.

As a result, we periodically have the discussion of whether to provide strategic or tactical staffing services. Sometimes this decision is dictated by the customer, sometimes by the environment or size of the account.

With that said, what is the difference between tactical and strategic service delivery?

Tactical vs. StrategicSurestaff - Strategic staffing partner

Simply, we view tactical as “filling orders”. The customer tells us how many people they need and what skills, we supply the people at the right time. The customer manages all aspects of the staffing vendor environment.

A strategic solution is more defined as we are the customers’ partner. We understand their business, help determine staffing loads, provide onsite and vendor management, provide KPIs, metrics, and reporting, orientations and onboarding, and help identify and resolve inefficiencies or poor processes.

More broadly, and as best explained by HubSpot: “Your strategic plan provides the general idea of how to reach a goal, and the tactical plan is where you lay out the steps to achieve that goal.” As it pertains to a staffing solution, do you want/need a supplier or a business partner as part of that plan.

If circumstances allow, we recommend your staffing partner be “strategic” because a solid staffing plan requires that you first identify the gaps between your needs and your existing resources – setting the groundwork to determine staffing levels. So, don’t put the cart before the horse, so to speak. Once you’ve put a strategic plan in place, then and only then, should you act on the tactical steps to reach your goals.

Why You Should Employ a Strategic Staffing Partner

Strategic staffing is designed to ensure an organization has the workforce needed to meet its business objectives. This requires understanding trends, seasonality, product and supply chain flow, employee responsibilities and duties, and corresponding workforce requirements.

What are the benefits of working with a strategic staffing partner?

  • Efficiencies gained by vendor consolidation and management
  • Improved reporting, tracking, and metrics
  • Improved safety, safety education, and risk management
  • Elevated morale and day-to-day management of temporary employees
  • It’s easier to address HR concerns when the company structure is more organized.
  • You can better maximize staff utilization by ensuring that you don’t under or over hire.
  • HR teams can proactively hire and train new employees to meet future business needs.

How to Create a Strategic Staffing Plan

Not sure where to begin?  The following five steps can help you and your staffing partner create a plan that is in line with your business goals:

  1. Determine your goals – Consider what the organization’s plan for growth is—do you need additional employees to staff a new location, for example? Do you plan to offer any new services? Do you have new sales goals? These are the types of items you’ll want to consider when creating your staffing plan. Consider the depth of your management “bench” and realistically assess their capacity for work and projects.
  2. Identify personnel availability – Are there any factors that could potentially impact the availability of personnel? Many large organizations first review data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—which provides useful statistics on the numbers of job openings, labor costs, and unemployment rates.
  3. Determine your functional needs – Do you have the talent you need to promote from within, or do you need to recruit/hire externally? Sometimes, certain jobs can easily be filled through outsourcing to consultants or freelancers. When you are creating a strategy, it is first helpful to learn what skill sets and experience are needed in your current business divisions. Identify the capacity of your departments. Do they have they capability to manage multiple vendors, payroll, reporting, meetings, day-to-day operations?
  4. Conduct a gap analysis – This is essentially when you compare the roles you currently have filled against the ones that you need to fill. In some cases, incorporating training and development could help fill the skills gap. When it comes to busier times for the business during peak seasons, you may want to consider hiring temporary workers to fill those gaps. This article by Asana does a great job of explaining how to use a gap analysis to achieve your business goals.
  5. Create a plan – Once you’ve identified all the above, the final step is to combine that information in order to create an actionable plan. Your strategic staffing plan should ultimately include your assessment/analysis of the business, as well as take the individual business units and departments’ needs into consideration.

Keys to a Successful Strategic Staffing PartnershipA strategic recruiting and technology ecosystem

Just like with any other important business decision, choosing your staffing provider should be done with care and diligence. It’s crucial you develop a relationship with a staffing partner who understands your industry, your organizational goals, and longer-term business objectives.

When seeking a staffing partner, look for a match between the vision of your company and the staffing agency’s expertise.

Some key things to look for include flexibility, patience, adaptability, specialization, and industry reputation. Also consider their experience, use of technology, and especially their recruiting ecosystem.

We’ve discussed why your staffing partner should be strategic. But many successful HR leaders use both strategic and tactical strategies – choosing to manage the staffing environment internally.

For many companies, this is an excellent solution and works well. It’s important to both envision and plan your strategy, but you also need to be able to break it down into practical, workable, (and tactical) solutions that will ultimately bring the plan to life.

If you’re seeking a reputable and customer-centric staffing partner, look no further than Surestaff. We offer the flexibility to deliver high-quality service regardless of size or scope and are supported by dedicated workforce experts who guarantee unmatched customer service.

Contact us today!


About the Author


Kim Kim Wacker - Authoris a seasoned content marketing professional with over twelve years of corporate communications experience. Her sweetspot is with creative writing both short and long-form. She has a proven track record working with IBM, Jackson Healthcare, and Walt Disney World, among others. Kim is a singer and actress and has been performing on stage and screen her entire life and has a great passion for TV and film production. Connect with Kim on LinkedIn.